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Table of Contents Feature Article

Cost Cuts and 10 With New Revenue Sources, CCHS Pulls Back from the Financial Brink

Story and Photos by Ken Graham

Almost all small rural hospitals struggle financially,” says Charlie Button, “and this one’s no different.” Button is CEO of the Columbia County Health System (CCHS), which includes Dayton General Hospital, Booker Rest Home and the Dayton and Waitsburg Clinics. What IS different, he hopes, is that, while many of the others may not survive, Dayton’s will.

News 5-7 Candidates File for Fall Elections

More 4 Comment County Passes ORV Ordinance 5 Letter Stationmaster Sculpture Reaches Funding Goal 12-16 Calendar of Events 13 Photos News Briefs 8&9 16 Business Directory 17 Meetings On the Cover More Thing . . . : Wheat fields stretch as far as the eye 19 One Commas, Coworkers, can see - the view from the top of Weinhard Hill (Photo by Ken Graham)

by Ken Graham

Blue Mountain News is mailed FREE to every home and business in Dayton, Waitsburg, Starbuck and Prescott.

Ken Graham

Also available at fine retailers throughout the area. Subscriptions out of the area are $12 per year.

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Blue Mountain News is published ten times per year by: Back of the Moon Press, 242 E. Main St., Dayton, WA 99328

(509) 540-2752

Copyright © 2010 by Back of the Moon Press No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher.

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and Cute Little Bears

Editor and Publisher (509) 540-2752

Associate Editor & Advertising Representative (509) 382-4458 (509) 540-4644

Vanessa Heim Graphic Designer

July/August 2010 Blue Mountain NEWS

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Comment For CCHS, the Needs of Patients, Employees, the Community and the Bottom Line Must All be Balanced – and That’s Hard


n 2003, the Columbia County Hospital District had an eyepopping net loss of nearly $1.2 million. This is for an organization with an annual budget of less than $10 million. Between 2001 and 2007, its accumulated losses added up to about $3 million. For a couple of months in 2003, the Hospital District did not have enough money in the bank to meet month-end payroll. Negotiations were ongoing with the District’s lenders to provide enough credit to keep the doors open at Dayton General Hospital. In March of 2004, the District’s accounts payable exceeded $1 million, and it was carrying more than $1 million in additional debt. At the end of that month, less than $60,000 was in the bank. The word “dire” doesn’t even begin to describe the financial picture at the Columbia County Health District six years ago. Things began to turn around in 2004 when a new CEO and Chief Financial Officer were hired. Current CEO Charlie Button took over in

early 2008. In the past two years, he has made serious changes – many would call them “drastic” – to speed up financial recovery. Among other things, employment levels have been reduced by nearly ten percent. In purely dollar terms, the measures have worked. In 2009, the District had a positive income of about $570,000. This allowed it to pay down nearly half its accumulated debt. Cash on hand in May of this year was over $800,000, with accounts payable about half that. Bills are now being paid on time. Our feature article, beginning on page 10, provides much more detail about how the financial performance of the Hospital District has fared over the past ten years. Despite the progress that administrators—at what is now known as the Columbia County Health System (CCHS)—have made to improve its financial health, it appears to many of us outsiders that the term “employee morale” is rapidly becoming an oxymoron there. No matter how much

the books have improved, this is a bad thing. After the sudden termination of CCHS’s Director of Rural Health Clinics in May, an uproar ensued. Employees and their families became alarmed that their jobs could be taken from them without warning or any apparent reason. Concerns were raised that a high level of job insecurity among employees could threaten patient health and safety. With some highly dramatic local newspaper coverage thrown into the mix, it’s not surprising that anger and emotion boiled over. At a regularly scheduled board meeting in late May, more than 100 current and former employees and other members of the public came to express their concerns. Many called for the firing of the CEO and the Director of Nursing Services (who has since resigned). An organization like CCHS cannot function successfully unless its administrators are given a relatively free hand managing employees and making staffing decisions. The CCHS board has done the right thing in not micro-managing the CEO. But when the floodwaters of discontent among

Letters Invited Blue Mountain News welcomes letters to the editor on subjects of interest to our overall readership. Letters should be 400 words or less and should be submitted by the 20th of the month. We reserve the right to edit or decline letters. Please send to: or 242 E. Main St., Dayton, WA 99328

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Comment Letter (Continued) employees begin to spill over the banks, the board and other community members are also right to step up and ask questions. An argument can surely be made that administrators cut too deeply too quickly. The health and safety of patients has to be the number one priority of the organization, and any cuts that put patients at risk would be unacceptable. But the hospital and clinics are highly regulated, and regular government inspections are made. While some changes were asked for in recent months, no findings have indicated that there are risks to patient health at CCHS. And despite recent claims of short staffing, overtime pay at the District has not increased significantly. We hope our readers and other community members can understand that the CCHS management and board have many competing interests they must balance. If the hospital doors had had to close because of overwhelming debt, not only would the community have suffered a horrible blow with the loss of health services, but taxpayers would have been on the hook to cover that debt. CCHS’s board and administrators should be applauded for the rapid progress they have made turning around its finances, despite the painful measures taken. Let’s also encourage them in their efforts to now turn around employee morale and make CCHS a place where employees want to work and where they stay. The management and board deserve a chance to make that happen. q

Thanks to Many Friends in Dayton Dear Editor: This is a letter to say goodbye and thank you to all the people of Dayton and the surrounding area. I spent almost seven years in Dayton and met a lot of great people. I have recently moved to Bellingham and want to say thank you to all the folks I met working for Elk Drug and those I met outside of work. I'd like to thank Paul and Marcene Hendrickson for giving me my first retail pharmacist job and for (as far as I can remember) never denying me a request for time off! Also a big thank you and goodbye to my co-workers at the store. You guys were fantastic and I will remember my time at Elk Drug fondly. I really enjoyed serving the customers at the store and I wish all of you the best. To those of you that I met and befriended outside of work, thank you for your kindness and friendship over the years. Keep in touch. Dayton and the surrounding area is a beautiful place and I will miss it, though I'm happy to be close to my family and living back 'home'. Jeff Bunney Bellingham, WA

Thank you for reading

Blue Mountain News


Three Contested Races to Highlight Columbia County Fall Elections Multiple candidates have also filed for Sheriff and Coroner positions in Walla Walla County


n June, challengers filed to take on the incumbents for the Prosecutor, Sheriff and District 3 Commissioner positions in this year's elections in Columbia County. Current Prosecuting Attorney Rea Culwell, will face challenger Randy O. Lewis, and incumbent Sheriff Walt Hessler is challenged by Mark Franklin. In the lone Commissioner race this year, Chuck Reeves, who is seeking his fifth term, will face Chuck Amerein. Culwell is a Kennewick native and Whitman College graduate who is completing her first term as Columbia County Prosecuting Attorney. She previously worked as a Senior Deputy Prosecutor in Benton County for four years. She will face Randy O. Lewis, who moved to Columbia County from Louisiana in 2002, where he practiced civil and criminal law for 30 years. Sheriff Hessler, who was born and raised in Dayton, is also completing his first term. He first joined the Columbia County Sheriff’s office as a Deputy in 1989. Franklin is a 22-year law enforcement veteran, who has been a deputy with the Columbia County Sheriff’s office since 1999. Reeves was first elected Commissioner in 1994. He and his wife, Kenny, have owned and operated Dayton Veterninary Clinic since 1990. Amerein finished a ten-year career in the U.S. Army in 1998 and moved to Columbia County in 2002. He is currently Commander of the Dayton American Legion Post. Incumbents are running unopposed in all of the other county-wide positions in Columbia County, including Assessor, Auditor, Treasurer, Clerk and District Court Judge. The box at right shows all of the positions up for election this year and the candidates who have filed.

on to the November general election. No races will be decided in the primary. In Walla Walla County, only two county-wide races will be contested this fall - Sheriff and Coroner, with three or more candidates for each. No one filed to oppose State Representative Terry Nealey, who is running for his first full term. One opponent has filed against State Representative Maureen Walsh. Complete lists of candidates who have filed for local and state elections this year can be found on the County Auditor web sites for Columbia and Walla Walla Counties. The ballot deadline for the Primary Election is August 17th, and for the General Election it is November 2nd. q

Candidate Filings in Columbia County (I=incumbent, R=Republican party preferred, N=No party preference, np=Non-partisan):



Assessor Auditor Treasurer Clerk Prosecuting Attorney

Chris Miller (I,R) Sharon Richter (I,R) Audrey McLean (I,R) Lynne Leseman (I,R) Rea Culwell (I,N) Randy O. Lewis (R) Scott Marinella (I,np) Walt Hessler (I,R) Mark Franklin (R) Chuck Reeves (I,R) Charles Amerein (R)

District Court Judge Sheriff Commissioner, District 3

According to Columbia County Auditor Sharon Richter, the names of all of the candidates who filed will appear on the primary ballot in August. And, for each race, the top two vote-getters will move

Blue Mountain News will not publish an August issue. We will see you in late August with our September issue

Have a great summer! July/August 2010 Blue Mountain NEWS

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News Learning About Alternative Energy

In late May, about forty students from the After School Program at Dayton Elementary School took a tour at the Hopkins Ridge Wind Facility northeast of Dayton. PSE employees Anne Walsh and Jay Takemura explained the inner workings of the wind turbines and towers to the first- through sixthgraders. PSE owns and operates the wind farm which includes 87 wind turbines and opened in 2005.

Columbia County Adopts ORV Ordinance & Dayton Considers One


he Columbia County Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance allowing operators of off road vehicles (ORVs) meeting certain conditions to travel a single route from the Dayton City Limits to the National Forest Boundary south of Dayton. The ordinance was adopted April 26th, after a public hearing. ORVs are allowed to travel on Eckler Mountain Road, from the Dayton city limits at Mustard Street, to the intersection with Maloney Mountain Road, approximately 16 miles south of Dayton. They can then travel on Maloney Mountain Road about two miles to the Forest Service boundary. Operators of ORVs traveling on designated public roads must meet specific requirements, including:

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• Operator must be 16 or over with a valid driver’s license. • Operator must wear an approved motorcycle helmet (unless ORV is equipped with a seat belt and roll cage). • ORV must be equipped with headlight, taillight, mirror, adequate brakes and an approved muffler/spark arrestor. • Operator must observe all rules of the road for vehicles and use manual hand signals for turning and stopping if ORV is not equipped with turn signals or brake lights. • Maximum speed limit for ORVs on designated County roads is 35 mph.

The ordinance includes several other requirements relating to ORV operation. A copy of the ordinance can be obtained from the office of the Columbia County Commissioners. On June 28th, the Dayton City Council will hold a public hearing to consider a similar ordinance that would allow ORVs to travel on designated city streets to access the County route on Eckler Mountain Road. At that time, the City will present a map showing proposed routes for access. According to Mayor Craig George, the proposed city ordinance contains requirements for ORV operators similar to those in the County ordinance. q

News Stationmaster Sculpture Will Be Unveiled at the Depot in October


he Stationmaster, a life-sized bronze sculpture by Keith McMasters, will be unveiled on the boardwalk at the Dayton Historical Depot in October. The sculpture depicts a 1930’s era stationmaster, with his companion dog and vintage luggage, checking his pocket watch as he waits for an arriving train. The Dayton Historical Depot Society and the Dayton Development Task Force have announced that they were awarded a grant from the Sherwood Trust of $44,000, which completes their fundraising goal of $80,000. “Our community has really gotten behind this project," says Ginny Butler, the Depot Society’s Curator, and lead fundraiser for the Stationmaster project. "So many individuals and businesses have given generously to make sure this sculpture becomes a reality. The Stationmaster is going to be a welcoming sight on the Depot Boardwalk.” McMasters began work on the clay original in late summer of 2009, and he expects to complete the original and begin casting in mid-July. An installation ceremony will be held at the Depot during the Dayton Art Walk on October 2nd. “I’m very excited and honored that my first piece of public art will be in Dayton,” says McMasters, who began his full-time sculpting career in Dayton in the 1990s. “Even though Mira and I are now living in Southern California, Dayton has been my home for 20 years, and we’ll always have a special connection here.”

McMasters' clay original of The Stationmaster nears completion.

Besides the Sherwood Trust grant, major contributions for the Stationmaster were received from Pacificorp, Puget Sound Energy, the Dayton/Columbia County Fund, the Clara and Art Bald Trust of Walla Walla, the Mary Garner Esary Trust of Walla Walla and the Alma Smith Trust of Walla Walla. Many private contributions from local donors were also received. q

July/August 2010 Blue Mountain NEWS

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Business News New Firm Opens Specializing in Waterfalls and Outdoor Spaces

"Jitters" Opens on Dayton's Main Street


hris & Tammy Weppler and their partner Lars Dyball, all of Dayton, have formed a general contracting firm specializing in waterfalls. Columbia Designs Plus, LLC also offers a wide variety of interior and exterior design and construction, including courtyards, ponds, paving, walls, rockscapes and painting. “It’s about having a place to relax, a sanctuary where you can go and recharge,” says Tammy. She points out that even small yards can accommodate pondless waterfalls or streams. Tammy is the firm’s primary designer. She uses special software to illustrate how a design will look when completed. “We can also Photoshop actual photos of a yard to show how the project will fit into the existing landscape,” says Tammy. Lars is the firm’s financial and project manager. “He takes the design and makes it a beautiful reality,” says Tammy. “And we all do a lot of shoveling.” For more information about Columbia Designs Plus, LLC, call (509) 2406075. q Backyard waterfall and pond at the home of Ken and Karen Dyball, of Dayton

Coffee and espresso drinks, and many other beverages and treats, are on the menu at the new Jitters Coffee Shop on Dayton's Main Street. It's located in the former home of Patit Valley Products at 232 East Main. Scott and Yara Underwood, seen at left with their son, Dominic, are the proprietors. Scott also owns and operates PC Solutions in Dayton, and will soon move that business to the space behind Jitters. Above, customers enjoy coffee and conversation, while sitting at Jitters' new furniture during the All Wheels Weekend Show-NShine. Yara says she has always wanted to run a coffee shop, and she's been working on plans since Scott began his computer business. Jitters is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Free Wi-Fi will soon be available. For more information, call (509) 382-0444.

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News Briefs Evening at the Depot Benefit Auction in August The Dayton Historical Depot Society will hold its annual “Evening at the Depot Benefit Auction” on Saturday, August 7th, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the Depot Courtyard. The evening will feature wine and micro-beer tasting. Silent and live auctions of art, antiques, and unique packages, including gourmet dinners, RV weekends, and fine wine from local wineries, will be held. The yearly event is the Depot Society’s primary fundraiser to cover operating costs for the Dayton Historic Depot Museum. Admission is free and everyone 21 years and older is welcome. Cash and checks are accepted for beverage purchases. Cash, checks, Visa and MasterCard are accepted for auction purchases. For more information, contact the Depot at (509) 3822026.

BMCS to Reopen Next Year Dayton’s Blue Mountain Christian School (BMCS) is seeking families committed to long-term Christian education for their pre-K, kindergarten or elementary-aged children to enroll for the 2010/2011 school year. The school will reopen this fall after a

one year sabbatical. The school is also seeking a certified teacher for elementary education. BMCS is a private, state-accredited school which offers individualized instruction in a small, multi-age classroom setting. It is a nondenominational school devoted to the spiritual, as well as academic, growth of its students. Anyone interested in more information about enrollment in Blue Mountain Christian School, or about the available teaching position, should contact Melody Ramsey at or call (509) 382-8953.

Tortoise Versus the Hare at the Liberty The Liberty Theater will host the Missoula Children's Theatre's presentation of The Tortoise Versus the Hare the first week in August. Auditions will be Monday, August 2nd, from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the theater, followed by rehearsals Monday through Friday, August 6th. Performances at the theater will be Friday, August 6th and Saturday, August 7th, at 7:00 p.m. Children interested in taking part should pre-register at the theater on Tuesday, July 27th or Thursday, July 29th from 2:30 -6:30 p.m. each day. There will be no registration the day of auditions. Roles are available for  students kindergarten through high school.

Approximately 50 students will be cast, along with four to six older students as Assistant Directors. There is no guarantee that everyone who auditions will be cast. For tickets or information, call the Liberty Theater at 382-1380. The Touchet Valley Arts Council has received a grant award from the Columbia County Children's fund in the amount of $1,200 to help sponsor this year's Missoula Children's Theatre.

Lower Snake River Wind CUP Appealed On June 2nd, a lawsuit appealing the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the Lower Snake River Wind Energy Project was filed in Columbia County by County residents Jim and Laura Peterson. Defendants named in the suit are the project’s developer, Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Columbia County, and 57 landowners who have entered into leases with PSE for the project. A hearing date in Columbia County Superior Court had not been set as Blue Mountain News went to press. The CUP application was given preliminary approval by the County in March and then reviewed and given final approval by the County’s Hearings Examiner, Andy Kottkamp, in May. The Petersons' suit alleges, among other things, that changes made to the project by PSE after completion of the environmental review process should have triggered additional environmental impact studies.

Dayton Girls Complete Undefeated Season Coach John Delp led the Main Street Salon girls softball team to a 17 - 0 record this year in the Blue Mountain Girls Softball Association 12U Division. The team won the league's championship tournament, which was held June 8th -12th. The league included two Dayton teams and four Walla Walla teams. Team members were Madison Mings, McKenzie Delp, Taylor Frame, Lexie Ramirez, Jordyn Lowe, Amanda Bren, Alyssa White, Hailey Dobbs, Katie White and Kalijha Bicknell. (Photo Courtesy of Wendy Frame)

July/August 2010 Blue Mountain NEWS

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Health Care

With Cost Cuts and New Revenue Sources, CCHS Pulls Back from the Financial Brink Story and Photos by Ken Graham


lmost all small rural hospitals struggle financially,” says Charlie Button, “and this one’s no different.” Button is CEO of the Columbia County Health System (CCHS), which includes Dayton General Hospital, Booker Rest Home and the Dayton and Waitsburg Clinics. What IS different, he hopes, is that, while many of the others may not survive, Dayton’s will.

Page 10 Blue Mountain NEWS July/August 2010

For a couple of years in the mid-2000s, the survival of Dayton General Hospital was in doubt. From 2001 to 2007, CCHS lost a combined $3 million, including a $1.2 million loss in 2003 – huge deficits for an organization with an annual budget of less than $10 million. Payments to vendors were seriously delinquent. At one point in 2003, accounts payable exceeded $1 million and there wasn’t enough money in the bank to cover payroll. The Washington State Auditor’s Office issued repeated warnings that changes must be made quickly to eliminate the losses. A new administration team was hired in 2004 and another in 2008. With a serious staff reduction and other spending cuts – combined with new sources of revenue – CCHS is now operating in the black and beginning to pay down its debt. In 2009, CCHS had positive income of nearly $570,000. When Button took over in 2008, he focused on making changes to repair the bottom line, including a nearly ten percent staff cut. “We needed to reduce staff by several positions in the first few months,” he says. “We also made some significant changes in job assignments to try and make the work more efficient.” Button says that, in many cases, employees were asked to take on more responsibility. CCHS addressed other expenses as well, and was able to reduce costs in several other areas, especially in purchasing. Button also continued many of the efforts begun by the previous administration to find new sources of income and increase business for all of its functions. “We’ve added C.T. scan and MRI capabilities, which we’ve never had here,” he says. “And we’ve greatly improved our ability to serve dementia patients at Booker.” The C.T. scanner, which was donated to CCHS by Kadlec Medical Center in Richland, has provided a significant new source of revenue. Button also pointed out that CCHS’s rehabilitation business has nearly tripled in the past three years, with two new physical therapists added in 2009. Looking into the future, Button described some more significant changes he hopes to make. “We have plans in place to create a second emergency room,” he says. “We’re working on getting financing for that.” Button says the new ER configuration would provide much more privacy for patients and staff, and it would include a dedicated waiting area, with rest rooms, which the current ER doesn’t have. He hopes to have reconstruction of the ER area completed within the next year.

CCHS is also in the process of convertin housed Booker Annex – to single nursing h Booker Rest Home residents are in shared roo single rooms to many of those residents in th

In the future, as finances improve, Butto with some facilities maintenance issues, incl roof and repairing the parking lot. “Another stand-alone rehab center, including a therapy aquatic rehabilitation is an important servic near future.

We asked Button about recent turmoil among cuts and changes made in staffing may have b these types of changes are often difficult for e he said. “In my position, I sometimes hav Button says that, for legal and privacy reason personnel changes.

Regarding allegations of short staffing, Button heads to continually monitor staffing needs. “ balance staff levels with a fluctuating deman out that overtime pay has not increased sign

Button also says that, despite some claims to CCHS is currently a little lower than historica he says. “For instance, in the nursing home in well over 100%.” Combined annual turnover compared to near 50% earlier in the decade.

When he was hired two years ago, Butto major changes were needed to stop the red ink both made it clear that we had to start living w says he now plans to put more emphasis on im our operation more financially healthy, I hop be a more stable and positive place to work

ng its back hallway – which once home beds. Currently, all but two oms. Button hopes to begin offering he next few months.

Far Left: The yard at Booker Rest Home is immaculately groomed. The large back yard is surrounded by a new security fence, which has allowed the nursing home to accept more dementia patients.

on has plans to begin catching up luding replacing the nursing home r hope down the road is to build a y pool,” he says, emphasizing that ce that CCHS hopes to offer in the

Left: Columbia County Health System CEO Charlie Button shows off the new Telemedicine Robot (named "Rover"), which will allow doctors to confer with patients from a remote location. Above: CCHS's new CT Scanner has provided many benefits for patients, doctors and the hospital's revenue stream. Donated by Richland's Kadlec Medical Center in April of 2009, an average of more than 30 scans have been performed each month since. CCHS expects gross revenues from CT scan services to exceed $200,000 per year.

g employees and whether he felt that been too drastic. “I understand that employees and for the community,” ve to make unpopular decisions.” ns, he’s not able to discuss specific

o the contrary, employee turnover at al averages. “It varies by function,” ndustry overall, annual turnover is r at CCHS was about 40% in 2009, .

on says that it was understood that k. “The board and the state auditors within our means,” he says. Button mproving employee morale. “With pe employees will find that this will as we go forward.” q

CCHS Year-end Net Assets (Deficit) (Thousands of Dollars)

CCHS Annual Net Income (Loss) (Thousands of Dollars)

on says that he works with department “In a small hospital, it’s difficult to nd for services,” he says. He points nificantly since he arrived.

570 2003 2001




(86) (340)

2005 (199)


2007 (164)








20 2008


2009 (434) (557)


(683) (983) (1,177)



July/August 2010 Blue Mountain NEWS

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Featured Event


July 2-3

Dayton Farmers’ Market EVERY Friday 3:00 – 6:00 EVERY Sat. 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Seneca Lawn on Hwy 12

Aug. 7 & 8

Waitsburg's 3rd Annual “One of a Kind” Classic Auto Show A Saturday night cruise kicks off the fun starting at 6:30 p.m. This year's organizers hope for more than 100 cars Sunday’s Show & Shine and swap meet starts at 10:00 a.m. Entry fee for the Show & Shine is $10. Swap meet participation is free. Sponsored by Blue Mountain News, Napa Auto Parts of WW,, Waitsburg Mercantile, Hubbard Law Office, Les Schwab of WW, Taqueria Don Miguel and Midway Food Mart. For more information or entry forms contact Lupe Torres at or call (509) 337-6393. Everything happens at Preston Park in Waitsburg

Vendors sell produce, handmade items and much more. Vendor fees are just $6 a weekend with no association fees required. Call Zonia Dedloff at (509) 399-2307.


Live @ Sapolil Philly KingB and The Stingers 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. Sapolil Cellars 15 E. Main Street, Walla Walla Walla Walla's homegrown blues band doing what they do best - the blues - from Chicago to Mississippi. $5 Cover


FREE Folk Music Concert Four Shillings Short 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Dayton Memorial Library Delany Room 111 S. 3rd Street Celebrating their 15th year together, the Celtic/Folk/World music duo and husband/wife team, Aodh Og O’Tuama from Cork, Ireland and Christy Martin from California, tour in the US and Ireland and play a fantastic array of instruments from around the world. They live as the bardic minstrels of old, bringing their one-of-a-kind, eclectic blend of world music to audiences everywhere.

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16 Annual Wildhorse Pow Wow th

Wildhorse Resort Umatilla Indian Reservation Pendleton, OR Experience the traditions of the American Indian Culture as more than 300 dancers and 25 drum teams celebrate their heritage and compete for over $55,000 in cash and prizes. The event kicks off Friday with the Grand Entry at 7:00 p.m. Events begin at 1:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Pow Wow is open to the public and features vendors offering a variety of foods, souvenirs and Native arts and crafts. Admission is FREE. For general information call Rob Watson at 800654-9453 ext. 1510.


WWCC Foundation Summer Musical “Footloose”

Photos Forty Shades of Green Johnny Cash wrote and recorded a song in 1961 called “Forty Shades of Green” as part of an album celebrating his fondness for the Emerald Isle. We think Ireland doesn’t have anything on Columbia County so far this year. A wet cool spring has created lush vistas blanketed in a variegated mantle of green that easily rivals or surpasses anything Ireland has to offer. We went for a Sunday drive with the intention of capturing some of the beauty of the countryside before it fades to brown under the hot summer sun (assuming we get some eventually). Next Page From top right (clockwise): Top of Thorn Hollow looking north; Mustard on Whetstone Road; On Sorghum Hollow looking south to the Huntsville Elevator; Lyman Hill looking north; Weinhard Hill looking east; Refer to Signs.

Fort Walla Walla Amphitheater Myra Road Based on the hit 80s movie which launched the careers of Kevin Bacon, Sarah Jessica Parker and John Lithgow, Footloose celebrates the wisdom of listening to young people, and the joy of expression through dance. The rockin’ Top 40 score was nominated for both Oscar and Tony awards. All proceeds generated from the musical are designated for meritbased scholarships for Walla Walla Community College students. Gather your family and friends and join us for the special events planned as part of Footloose. Tickets can be purchased at the Fort WW Museum, WWCC Bookstore (Monday – Thursday), Banner Bank (Main Branch only), Book and Game, Earthlight Books and Walla Walla’s Harvest Foods. Local dance groups will provide preshow entertainment on select dates. Visit for more special event information as well as online ticket sales (with a transaction fee).



Touchet ValleyArt

July/August 2010 Blue Mountain NEWS

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Events Live @ Sapolil – Dr. Mark Brown & Gary Romjue 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. Sapolil Cellars 15 E. Main Street, Walla Walla Dr. Mark Brown plays pure magic on the keyboard, throws in a little trumpet, blues harp and vocals. You’ll see why we call him the Good Doctor! And the Good Doctor is joined by Gary Romjue of Seattle. Romjue brings to town his guitar and outstanding electric blue fiddle. No Cover.


Karaoke Night 8:00 p.m. to Midnight Tuxedo Bar & Grill Prescott, WA (509) 849-2244 This is the last karaoke night until September.


Blue Mountain Rocketeers Fundraiser Yard Sale 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 111 West Brooklyn Avenue Dayton, WA (follow the signs from Front and Main Streets) Help support the fundraising efforts of this youth science group, run by kids, for kids. The yard sale will feature a large assortment of clothing items, small furniture, refurbished computers, arts and crafts supplies, fishing equipment, auto parts and accessories and other items. Now in its 15th year of operations, the Blue Mountain Rocketeers club has been recognized nationally by the National Association of Rocketry as "the premier youth model rocketry club in the nation" and has been the subject of past feature articles in national hobby magazines. The club's launch site is hosted through the continued generosity and support of Broughton Land Company of Dayton. For more information about the Blue Mountain Rocketeers and their ongoing youth science programs, visit www.bmr615. org .

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Events 14

Christian Women’s Connection Bruncheon PATTERN FOR LIVING 10:00 a.m. – noon Judy Jackson’s Yard 825 Hwy 261 in Starbuck Cost: $9.00 Catered by: The Planning Committee Deb Hoilman will be bringing us some wonderful music in song. Her voice is one you won’t want to miss. Sandy Hawks, from The Quilt Shoppe in Dayton, will be here to share with us about her new business. Sandy, who has been quilting for years, uses a quilting machine to finish two to three quilts a week for other people. She loves what she does! Our special speaker is Gail Greco from Cascade, Idaho. Gail is an artist who takes an informative and inspirational look at quilting and how it relates to life. Babysitting is available. Reservations are necessary. Please call Judy Jackson at (509) 399-2005. Please honor your reservation, “gift” it to a friend, or call to cancel if your plans change. Sponsored by Christian Women’s Connection and Stonecroft www.


Dayton Alumni Reunion Weekend Alumni parade starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday with a DHS Alumni meeting immediately following the parade at the Dayton Depot Courtyard, where officers will be elected for the next year. A potluck picnic will be held Sunday starting at noon at the City Park. Tables and table service will be provided. Please bring lawn chairs if possible and your own beverages.


Live @ Sapolil Jim Basnight – Solo 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. Sapolil Cellars 15 E. Main Street, Walla Walla Jim Basnight performs Solo as a preview to the full Jim Basnight Band, presenting songs from all six of Jim’s unique CD’s. He’s well versed in a number of styles including Rock from the 50’s through the 90’s, as well as Soul, Funk, Americana, Alternative and the Blues. No Cover.

17 & 18

All-You-CanEat Breakfast 8:00 – 11:00 a.m. Prescott Lion’s Community Center Enjoy a home-cooked, hearty breakfast and help raise money for Prescott Community projects. Suggested donation just $5.99. Contact Jeanne McIntyre at (509) 849-2425 for more information.


7th Annual Young Life Golf Tournament 1:00 pm - Dinner to follow Touchet Valley Golf Course Dayton, WA Entry fee $40 – Green fees extra Enjoy an afternoon of golf followed by dinner, all to help raise money for local Young Life groups, a nondenominational, international, Christian outreach for youth in middle and high school. Email williamhpeck2@yahoo. com for more information or to sign up before the July 16th deadline.


Randy Oxford Blues Series, Live @ Sapolil Live @ Sapolil Benyaro Presenting The 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. Stacy Jones Band Sapolil Cellars

15 E. Main Street, Walla Walla

8:00 – 11:00 p.m. Sapolil Cellars 15 E. Main Street, Walla Walla Fueled by bright soulful vocals, clean riffs, strong percussion and youthful energy, the Stacy Jones Band offers a combination of well-known covers and originals. Stacy Jones herself has recently been honored with Best Female Vocalist by the Washington Blues Society! $10 Cover.


CONCERT: Los Lonely Boys 3:00 p.m. Wildhorse Resort, Pendleton, OR Multi-Platinum and Grammy Award-Winning artists, Los Lonely Boys, are bringing their spicy blend of Rock, Blues, Soul, Country and Tejano to an outdoor concert event at Wildhorse Resort & Casino. VIP seats $75, Preferred $35, Festival Seating $15. Tickets are available at www., at the Wildhorse Gift Shop or at Box Office Tickets: 800-494-TIXS(8497).


Live @ Sapolil The Cut. Can You Make It?

Soulful acoustic roots duo from NYC strongly influenced by Wilson Pickett, CSN&Y, Gillian Welch, James Brown, and Malcolm Holcombe. A new approach to American Music results in a unique, sweet sound. $5 Cover


Missoula Children’s Theatre “Tortoise Versus the Hare” The Liberty Theater Dayton, WA Please refer to Page 9 for complete information about auditions, rehearsals and performance dates and times.


27th Annual National Night Out Against Crime 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Dayton City Park

8:00 – 11:00 p.m. Sapolil Cellars 15 E. Main Street, Walla Walla Local musicians compete for $100 or more in this local showcase. Each drink purchase allows guests to vote for the best! If you’re a local musician, and you think you can make ‘The Cut’, contact Rick Phillips to get on the docket - 509386-5614! No Cover

Help raise awareness of crime and drug prevention and support for local anticrime efforts. FREE hamburgers, hotdogs and soft drinks will be provided. The park will be filled with fun events, activities and demonstrations. Co-sponsored locally by the Columbia County Friends of 9-11 and the Columbia County Sheriff’s office. Call (509) 382-2518 for more information.

July/August 2010 Blue Mountain NEWS

Page 15

Events 6

Live @ Sapolil – Bluestone 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. Sapolil Cellars 15 E. Main Street, Walla Walla Greg Miner on Saxaphone and John Farey on Keyboard are joined by vocalist Allye Ratledge. Straight from Austin, Texas—live music capital of the world— she emerges onto the local scene of the Tri-Cities with her rich, soulful vocals. And on this special night, Walla Walla local Phil Lynch will join in on guitar. $5 cover


Evening at the Depot 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Dayton Historic Depot Courtyard 222 East Commercial Street The Dayton Historic Depot is hosting an outdoor fundraising event. This annual event includes wine and beer tasting and a live auction of art, antiques, collectibles and wine. Local wines will be featured plus beer from Dayton’s micro-brewery, Skye Book & Brew. Other non-alcoholic beverages will be for sale and complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served through the evening. Call (509) 382-2026 for more information.


3rd Annual “One of a Kind” Classic Auto Show Preston Park, Waitsburg. See listing on Page 12.


Concert – Clay Walker Live 3:00 p.m. Platinum-selling superstar Clay Walker brings Country hits, including “Live Until I Die" and "She Won't Be Lonely Long," to the outdoor stage at Wildhorse Resort and Casino. Tickets on sale in early July. Visit for more information.


Christian Women’s Connection Luncheon A Little Laughter 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Seneca Activity Center, Dayton

has taught elementary age children, mostly first grade, for 27 years. She will share with us what they have taught her. CLOTHES FUN - We will have a Unique Fashion Show that you won’t want to miss. This will be the highlight of your year! Come, enjoy, and be amazed. Babysitting is available. Reservations are necessary. Please call Judy Jackson at (509) 399-2005. Please honor your reservation, “gift” it to a friend, or call to cancel if your plans change. Sponsored by Christian Women’s Connection and Stonecroft www.


Live @ Sapolil Robin Barrett Blues

Details TBD. $10 Cover

21 & 22

All-You-CanEat Breakfast 8:00 – 11:00 a.m. Prescott Lion’s Community Center

Details TBD. No Cover



8:00 – 11:00 p.m. Sapolil Cellars 15 E. Main Street, Walla Walla

Primary Election Day Ballots must be received before 8:00 p.m.


Acoustic Jam Session 6:00 p.m. until the last person leaves Dayton Memorial Library Delany Room 111 S. 3rd Street Musicians who usually jam in Waitsburg on the third Friday of the month are headed to Dayton instead! Open to anyone who plays an instrument and listeners who appreciate music in all its spontaneous forms.

Page 16 Blue Mountain NEWS July/August 2010

8:00 – 11:00 p.m. Sapolil Cellars 15 E. Main Street, Walla Walla

Enjoy a home-cooked, hearty breakfast and help raise money for Prescott Community projects. Suggested donation just $5.99. Contact Jeanne McIntyre at (509) 849-2425 for more information.

Cost: $9.00 FAIR FUN - The Columbia County Fair hostesses will be our special feature. Come and learn a little bit about them and what the fair has to offer this year. KID FUN - Our speaker, Linda Wozniak, is from Olympia. Linda

Randy Oxford Blues Series, Live @ Sapolil Presenting Kevin Selfe & Tornadoes

Live @ Sapolil The Cut. Can You Make It? 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. Sapolil Cellars 15 E. Main Street, Walla Walla Local musicians compete for $100 or more in this local showcase. Each drink purchase allows guests to vote for the best! If you’re a local musician, and you think you can make ‘The Cut’, contact Rick Phillips to get on the docket - 509386-5614! No Cover

Meetings American Legion Legion Hall, 211 E. Clay, Dayton 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m.

Contact Bret Harting for more information. (509) 382-4602 2nd Wednesday at 7:00 p.m

Columbia County Planning Commission Blue Mountain Chorus of County Planning Office Sweet Adelines 2nd and 4th Monday at 7:00 p.m. Unity Church of Peace, Walla Walla Airport. To carpool, call Columbia County Rural Barb Knopp at (509) 386-8901. Library District Board Mondays at 6:30 p.m. Dayton Memorial Library 111 S 3rd St, Dayton Call (509) 382-4131 Blue Mountain Heritage 2nd and 4th Thursday Society at 7:00 p.m. Delany Room at Dayton Memorial Library, 111 S. 3rd Contact Elizabeth Thorn at (509) 382-4820 2nd Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. Columbia County Commissioners Commissioners’ Chambers 3rd Floor, County Courthouse, Dayton. Call (509) 382-4542 1st and 3rd Monday at 10:00 a.m. and 4th Monday at 7:00 p.m.

Dayton City Council Dayton City Hall 111 S. 1st St, Dayton Call (509) 382-2361 2nd and 4th Monday at 7:00 p.m. Dayton City Planning Commission Dayton City Hall 111 S 1st St, Dayton 3rd Monday at 5:15 p.m.

Dayton Historic Preservation Commission Columbia County Fair Board Dayton City Hall S 1st St, Dayton Youth Building at the Columbia 111 2nd Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. County Fairgrounds, Dayton 3rd Monday at 7:30 p.m. Dayton Kiwanis First Congregational Church Columbia County Fire 214 S Third St, Dayton District #3 Commissioners Every Thursday at Noon Fire District #3 Station 206 W. Main St, Dayton Dayton Lions Club Call (509) 382-4281 Delany Room at Dayton 2nd and 4th Thursday Memorial Library, at 7:30 p.m. 111 S. 3rd Contact Terry Hoon for more Columbia County Levee information. (509) 386-8889 Roundtable 1st and 3rd Wednesday Dayton City Hall at 6:00 p.m. 111 S. 1st St, Dayton Last Friday at 10:00 a.m. Dayton School Board Administration Building Columbia County Livestock 609 S. 2nd St, Dayton Association Call (509) 382-2543 Columbia County Fairgrounds 1st and 3rd Wednesday Youth Building at 7:00 p.m. Randy James (509) 382-2760 Dayton Young Life No meeting until October 227 N. Cherry Columbia County Motorcycle 2nd & 4th Mondays at 7:17 p.m. Club Dayton D.O.T Building

Dayton Wyldlife Delany Bldg. 111 S 3rd St, Dayton 3rd Friday at 7:00 p.m. Friends of the Dayton Memorial Library Dayton Memorial Library 111 S 3rd St, Dayton 3rd Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. Port of Columbia Commissioners Port Office 1 Port Way, Dayton 2nd Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Prescott City Council Prescott City Hall 101 S D Street, Prescott Call (509) 849-2262 2nd Monday at 7:30 p.m. Prescott Community Club Prescott Lions Hall (509) 849-2892 or (509) 849- 2425 New members always welcome. Second Thursday at 2:00 p.m.

3rd Thursday at 6:30 p.m. TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) Dayton Dayton United Methodist Church 110 S. 3rd St, Dayton Every Tuesday at 8:50 a.m. Waitsburg City Council Lion’s Club Building at Waitsburg Fairgrounds Call (509) 337-6371 1st and 3rd Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. Waitsburg Commercial Club Ye Towne Hall 121 Main Street, Waitsburg (509) 337-6533 1st and 3rd Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Waitsburg Economic Development Committee Nothing New Antiques First Monday at 10:00 a.m. Waitsburg Historical Society Call Anita Baker for more information: (509) 337-6157

Prescott Fire Commissioners Call Tim Mayberry for info: Waitsburg Legion and (509) 849-2262 Auxiliary For location information call Ike and B.A Keve Prescott Lions Club at (509) 337-6546 Call Chris Scudder for info: First Monday at 7:00 p.m. (509) 849-2478 Waitsburg Lions Club Prescott Parks and Lions Memorial Building Recreation District Board Waitsburg Fairgrounds Scott Branson, President Community Center of the Lion’s Hall, corner of D St. & (509) 337-8895 Hwy 124, Prescott. For more 2nd & 4th Tuesdays at information contact Joan 7:00 p.m. Tatum at (509) 849-2690. 2nd Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Waitsburg School Board Prescott School Board Preston Hall, Main St Last Thursday at 7:00 p.m. 2nd and 4th Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. Starbuck City Council Starbuck City Hall VFW Post 5549 200 Main St, Starbuck Legion Hall Call (509) 399-2100 211 E Clay, Dayton 2nd Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Contact Jerry Berg at (509) 382-4525 for more info. Starbuck School Board Refreshments served. Library of the Starbuck School Every 3rd Wednesday 717 Tucannon, Starbuck at 7:30 p.m.

July/August 2010 Blue Mountain NEWS

Page 17

Future Events Big Night of Bull Riding Coming to Columbia County Fair


op bulls and professional cowboys from the Pacific Northwest and Canada will come to Dayton for a special “Denim or Dust Bull Bash” at the Columbia County Fair this year. The “bull riding only” event will be Saturday evening, September 11th. Four rounds of seven riders each will be featured, followed by championship round, with seven top riders competing for cash and prizes. Three well-known professional “bullfighters”–Rowdy Barry, Ryan Wilson and Ryan Manning–will be on hand to keep the bull riders safe. Rob Smets–five-time World Champion Bullfighter turned rodeo announcer–will call all the action. "This isn't your typical small-town bull riding event," says Shane Laib, Columbia County Fair Manager. "We've got world-class guys in the arena, and top-notch cowboys and bulls coming to put on a great show." Special ground-level arena seating will be offered for those who want to be “up close and personal” to all the bucking action (protected by dividing panels, of course). Grandstand seating will also be available. Wild and Woolly Mutton Bustin', co-sponsored by Justin Brands, will start off the evening. Twelve young riders, to be chosen by draft in mid-August, will compete in two rounds of six riders each. Tickets will be available at the Dayton Chamber of Commerce, and other locations, in early July. The Bull Bash is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at the Columbia County Fair. q

Page 18 Blue Mountain NEWS July/August 2010

One More Thing . . . Commas, Coworkers, and Cute Little Bears By Ken Graham


discovered a new band recently that I really like. They’re called Vampire Weekend, and they’re a group of young guys from New York who play music with a strong African influence. Besides trying to impress you all with how youngand hip-at-heart I am, I’m mentioning this because one of the songs on the group’s first album is called “Oxford Comma”. It’s about an archaic bit of grammar that’s rarely used in American English anymore.

The point of adding a comma within a written sentence is to give the words a sense of rhythm, similar to spoken speech. There are some hard and fast rules (such as the oxford comma ban), but in many cases, comma placement is a judgment call – hence the occasional emotional flare-ups. In some instances, comma placement can have a major impact.

An oxford comma is a comma before the “and” in a series of three or more items. I’ve put one in the title of this column, which should correctly read: “Commas, Coworkers and Cute Little Bears”. The oxford comma has been banned at Blue Mountain News from the start, and the fact that there is now a song out about its uselessness makes me feel much better. When disagreements among coworkers come up where you work, I imagine that they probably involve such relevant topics as the fate of healthcare in America, or perhaps reasons for the pathetic lack of run production by Seattle Mariners hitters (and I use that term loosely). Here at Blue Mountain News, however, if you want to get someone’s blood pressure up, just bring up commas. (In a recent column, I misspelled it as “coma”, which probably accurately describes the interest level of most everyone else when this topic comes up – but not here.)

A famous book about punctuation came out several years ago called “Eats, Shoots and Leaves”. Its title demonstrates how one rogue comma can turn a cuddly panda bear into a hardened criminal. (But note that it still lacks an oxford comma.) So this isn’t a trivial subject, as much as we’d like it to be. My mother, who is our resident proofreader – and usually one of the most pleasant people you’ll ever meet –, has worn many a pencil to the nub,

angrily correcting comma placements in my writing. (And by the way, she didn’t catch that misspelling I mentioned earlier.) Our, managing, editor, Tanya, is, absolutely, in, love, with, commas. If she had to buy them by the pound, she’d be broke. And here’s another thing. Besides my coworkers, I’m now being nagged about commas by computer software. In the previous paragraph, you’ll notice a comma after a dash. The only reason it’s there is because Microsoft Word insisted on it. I can manipulate software to format an entire newspaper, but I can’t get it to stop forcing punctuation on me. Of course, the last thing in the world I would do is second-guess Microsoft. If Microsoft says a comma is needed, so be it. Writing is a never-ending string of tiny little decisions: what topic to write about, what idea to present next once you have a topic, and what word to type next once you have an idea. When you throw grammar and punctuation – including those nasty commas – into the mix, it’s no wonder many people think writing is too hard. This is one of the many reasons why I’m very thankful for my mother. And after all these years, I’m finally to the point where now I don’t argue with her any more than I do with Microsoft. q

July/August 2010 Blue Mountain NEWS

Page 19

Consider using ceiling and other fans during the cooling season. there’s nothing more powerful

85,000 American workers are harvesting a new crop: wind

They provide additional cooling and better circulation so you can raise the thermostat and cut down on air conditioning costs. ENERGY STARcertified ceiling fans do even better, especially those that include compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Blue Mountain News - July-August 2010  

News, Arts and Recreation for Columbia and Northern Walla Walla Counties

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